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French polishing

One of the most important stages in the antique renovation process is French polishing. What is French polish and how its application looks like?  French polish is a solution which is created by mixing pure spirit and shellac in the proper ratio. Shellac is a type of natural resin extracted from the secretion of insects living on the so-called shellac trees in India and Thailand. Those insects produce shellac as a protection for their maggots. The secretion in direct contact with oxygen creates a shell.

Shellac gathered from the trees is cleaned, ground, and dried in the sun before going on sale. From the intermediate product obtained in such a way orange and colorless shellac is produced. Occurs in the form of a membrane cut into smaller pieces. In trafficking, depending on the color, it is called: lemon, orange, and ruby.

French polish obtained from shellac has been used since the 16th century for finishing furniture surfaces. The solution was also used for making varnish. Despite the emergence of artificial secretions on the market, shellac is still irreplaceable in many fields, especially furniture renovation.

French polishing is the most proper and consistent with the restoration doctrine process of finishing furniture and bringing them back to their former glory, even though it is tedious and requires patience and knowledge. Sometimes it is necessary to apply several or even several dozen layers by rubbing the surface with a tampon to obtain the desirable effect of perfect smoothness and mirror-like gloss. 

The biggest advantage of French polishing is the obtained depth and enhancement of wood graining, which makes each piece of furniture truly noble. What is also important is the fact that a surface can be refreshed after some time by applying another layer of French polish on top of already existing ones, without the need of removing them. The drawbacks are delicacy, susceptibility to moisture and chemical agents. That is why French-polished furniture requires extra care and maintenance.

In our renovation workshop operating by the showroom we pride ourselves on the high craftsmanship of French-polishing. The effects of our work are visible in the furniture for sale available in our offer. French polish is always prepared by us, only from the best ingredients available. The below pictures can only approximate how furniture after renovation can look like.

Piece of furniture before renovation:

Piece of furniture after renovation:

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